Bike Maintenance Tips
By Rylan Dowdell
After rain and wind cancelled the Milang Classic over the weekend, it is evident that summer is now well over, and the constant bike maintenance battle we all go through during the dirtier months of the year is now upon us. Not only is the weather less inspiring or enjoyable to ride in, we find ourselves left with a filthy bike at the end of almost every ride. A clean bike goes faster and is much more enjoyable to ride. Here are some basic tips to improve your ride.
Keep your chain lubed and clean!
A clean and lubed chain is always going to perform much better than a dirty dry one. I like to give my chain a quick wipe after each ride with a rag. If it’s getting dry, re-apply lube. Now, this gets me by for a while, but eventually, things need a bit more TLC.
Thankfully Pedalit have RESURRECTION, it’s the best degreaser that I’ve used and it’s biodegradable, so that’s great! Pedalit also sell the Pedalit Premium Chain Cleaning Tool and this makes degreasing your chain much quicker and easier. Most mechanics will also have a small paintbrush in a drink bottle that’s been cut in half. They fill this with a diluted degreaser mixture and brush it onto chainrings, cassettes and sometimes brakes. Take care with degreaser around your bearings, as you don’t want any to get inside. Once you have cleaned and degreased, rinse thoroughly with a low-pressure hose to protect your bearings. I would usually wash the rest of the bike now with soapy water and a cloth. Another tip is to dip a brush into your bucket of soapy water and give your chain, cassette and chainrings a scrub, this makes them shine after degreasing them. The team put together a video on how we reckon you should wash your bike – you can find that Video here. Make sure you chain is dry before you apply lube. I like to put the chain in the big ring and small cog. Apply a small amount of pedalit lube to each pin of the chain, give the cranks a back-spin and wipe off excess lube from chain and chainrings.
Rinse your bike straight away
A good way to make cleaning your bike easier is to rinse your bike as soon as you get home. Get off your bike, grab the garden hose and give it a squirt! This will remove the majority of the grit that would dry and get stuck to your bike. Pay close attention to brakes as they accumulate a lot of grime. (Jason’s hot tip) If your lucky enough to have an air compressor in your collection you can use it to blow off all the grit that gets stuck in your chain.
Check tyres for glass and other debris
A quick check of your tyres before you leave home can save you getting a puncture just down the street. Sometimes tyres can hold a small piece of glass or metal for a while before it punctures. A quick inspection and a set or tweezers can save some mid-ride frustration.
Service your brake pads
Brake pads accumulate bits of metal from your rims. Use a pointy knife to dig out these particles, it will save your braking tracks, improving the lifetime of your wheelset. On Carbon rims, brake pads can glaze over. Carefully use some fine grit sand-paper to remove the film from your brake pads. This will improve braking performance (especially in the wet!) and the braking surface lifetime.
Hopefully we all get to enjoy plenty more sunshine through autumn, and these tips make that sunshine even more pleasant. I’m sure our team manager Lachie would appreciate the sun to stick around. However, with the winter races coming up for the team, he’s bound to be cleaning a few bikes. Although going by the video above, he loves it!